Sunday, August 16, 2009
I got up about 9:30 a.m. and started working on my blog steady from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. I only had a few interruptions like dinner, and Carol and I talking. I was planning on leaving today for Canada but it’s too late now. I will sort out my clothes and things tonight, then in morning make a clean break for Canada. I overstayed my original five days and now I’m in the hole for time. I hope the weather tomorrow is as nice as it was today. I’m not interested in leaving in the rain.
I started working on my blog when I got up and continued to work on it until 2:00 p.m. Then Carol and I drove to the post office and I mailed to Mary all the pictures I want to post to my blog. Now it’s time to ship home my spare tires and my extra stuff I don’t want on my motorcycle. Oh that was an expensive adventure. I said it before and I will say it again: the two worst things I hate about motorcycle riding are carrying additional gasoline and spare tires. Both take a toll on the motorcycle. Between the gasoline and the tires they wrecked the paint on my top box. Now I’m shipping them back to Minnesota. That’s not free…………..I grumbled all the way back to my sister and brother-in-law's home. I can’t throw them away; they’re brand new tires. When we got back home I continued to work on my blog until 4:30 a.m.
Today is my Dad’s birthday. He would be 92 years old if he were still alive. Today I sorted through all my bags separating everything that I’m sending home and what I’m keeping with me on the bike. I also worked on my blog but didn’t seem to make much progress. I ate too much which caused me to fall asleep. That sleep turned into a five hour nap. So I didn’t get much done. I wasn’t happy with myself.
This morning I got a call from the Kawasaki Dealer that my front and rear sprocket have come in and to come and pick them up. This will be a good test for Matilda; a strange town with a new address. I uncovered my bike, put Matilda in her handlebar mount and locked her in. I plugged in my audio wire into her and my helmet. Time to see if that still works. Carol helped guide me out the two gates and into the alley. Then it’s off to the Kawasaki Dealership. Matilda didn’t seem quite up to speed because she didn’t recalculate when I change my route. So I thought something was wrong with her. When I arrived at the dealership she was right on the money. I picked up my sprockets and purchased a connecting link for my new chain. The new chain came with a connecting link but you need a special tool to cold form the pin to keep the link from coming apart. I don’t have that tool, don’t want to buy that tool and don’t want to carry that tool with me when I travel. I typed in Carol and Ken's address and said go. I then went in the opposite direction for the next six miles. All she did was keep repeating the same message…………..recalculating and showed the new route. I’d drive by her new route and she would be recalculating. I turned around and she headed straight to Carol and Ken house. On the way back I stopped and filled the gas tank and stopped at an ATM for some American Dollars. I then started working on my blog again. I’m way behind.
Ken and I left early to get to the Kawasaki Dealership by 9 a.m. so I could get my wheels balanced. We got there at 9:00 a.m. sharp and the dealership doesn’t open until 10:00 a.m. So I got the idea to go to the BMW dealership and have them balance the tires. We get there and they are open for business. I drop my tires off for balancing. I told them they are Kawasaki wheels and they said it’s not a problem. We left and purchased some blue loctite from the parts store. We went back to the BMW Dealership to pick up my wheels. Always remember BMW means Bring More Money With. We then went over to the Kawasaki Dealership and picked up some air cleaner oil. Then we went back home and I started assembling my motorcycle. I put the rear tire on first and then the front. Next I put the gas tank on. I had a pencil pushed in the end of the fuel line to keep the dirt and water out. I pulled it out and the gasoline dissolved the pencil end and made a genuine mess inside the fuel line. I took the line off to clean it out. We eventually took a small rope saturated with gasoline and flossed the inside of the fuel line until we cleaned all of the gunk out of it. I then installed it back on the carburetor and gas tank, turned on the fuel and started the motorcycle. It ran ok and I didn’t find any gas leaks. I then took my new air cleaner, saturated it with air cleaner oil and installed it back into the air box. Next, I mounted the seat. The last thing I did was to install both side panels and I now had a complete motorcycle. I took it out for a test run and got lost. I staggered around a while before I found Carol and Ken’s house again. I eventually made my way back. The motorcycle ran fine and the brakes worked well. I then reinstalled the saddle bags/panniers and started loading them in the manner I had them packed the last two months. It took me a couple of hours to clean up the backyard where I was working. The last thing I did last to was cover my bike. The last couple of nights I’ve been struggling with Matilda trying to get the North American maps loaded. Anyway, true to form she has been rebelling. I finally fired off an e-mail to Garmin about not being able to load any maps into Matilda. They gave me a whole list of things to do. One was to register Matilda. So I did that. I e-mailed them again and asked what’s next. Ken and I were talking about Matilda and I told him I needed the unlocking codes to load Matilda with North American Maps. He checked into it and said he needed Garmin passwords etc. I provided that to him and EUREKA! there was the unlock code for the North American Maps. I tried loading Matilda and my computer contaminated the maps file. Then I got the idea to load the maps on an sb card. I did that and pushed it into Matilda and I'll be darned. The North American maps were in Matilda. I typed in the address to the Kawasaki Dealership and went outside so Matilda could find some satellites. I then pressed go and she plotted right to the place. I was so happy I was doing back flips. I went to bed happy.
This morning I immediately started replacing the rear brake pads. I then removed the rear wheel. I asked Ken if he could clean the swing arm and all the components that went with the removal of the rear wheel. I suppose you all are picking up that Ken did a lot of cleaning on this motorcycle for me. If he wouldn’t have, I would have been the one cleaning and replacing all the worn parts. I am eternally grateful for all his help with this motorcycle. I removed the tire from the rear wheel then used gasoline to cut the grease from the rim. Every time you lubricate the chain the overspray from the aerosol can falls on the rim and after months of oiling the chain you get quite a buildup. So that’s why I cleaned the grease off the rim with a wet gas rag. I was going to change the sprockets but I think I’m going to hold off on that until I get out of the gravel in Alaska and the Northwest Territories. By that time the chain and sprockets will be junk. Not fit for motorcycle, man, nor beast. After the wheel was cleaned I put on the new tire. This Michelin tire was a whole bunch more difficult to remove from the rim than the front tire. And the mounting of the new rear was even more difficult. The f word slipped out a few times during the process. The tire was really stiff. I eventually got it mounted. I got the tire timed with the valve stem and then inflated it with my trusty motorcycle air compressor. I blew it up to 40 psi and let it set over night. The tire kind of stretches some and then I reduce the tire pressure down to 32 psi. I was going to put the gas tank on but it started raining. The lady next door called up to tell us this because I had all my tools and radio setting out. We rushed out and covered up the motorcycle. Everything else was either covered up or taken into the shed. So ended my work for today.
I got up and adjusted the one valve to its high limit. I turned the engine over several times and checked the valve clearance. It was right on the money. I then closed up the engine and started it. Everything sounded good. No unusual crunching and grinding. I tied up all the loose ends involved with adjusting the valves and turned my attention toward the front wheel. I replaced the front brake pads and then removed the front wheel from the motorcycle. Ken had cleaned this wheel the day before which made it easy to work on. I removed the old tire and then installed the new one. That was easy. It now is waiting in limbo until I remove the rear tire and replace it. That was all the work that we completed today.
Today I had to get going because I needed to get my sprockets on order if they weren’t available at the Kawasaki Dealership and I needed to stop at an ATM machine for U.S. Dollars. We stopped at a parts store to pick up some engine degreaser. We stopped at a Starbucks Coffeehouse to check if my laptop will hook up with their WiFi. It didn’t, which was a bad sign that something is wrong with my computer. Carol and I drove over to Best Buy to have the Geek Squad take a look at it. They ran it through series of checks to see if they could get it to hook up with their WiFi. No luck. They ran it through some other checks and determined the WiFi card was bad. This is my workhorse when comes to communicating with the outside world and my major information source. I asked if they had any recommendations and they said to purchase an external WiFi Unit which attaches to the USB port. So that’s the route I went with. I also purchased a networking cable so I can hardwire into the hotels and campground internet if they don’t have WiFi. I also stopped at the Kawasaki Dealer and bought a new chain and sprockets. The sprockets I had to order and they wouldn’t arrive until Wednesday. That was another bad thing. At this point I was planning a maximum of a five day stay in Seattle and I wanted to put on the sprockets when I changed tires. I couldn’t do this if they were on order. So it was back to the house to start work on the motorcycle. First thing on the agenda was to check the valve adjustment. I removed the saddle bags/panniers, the seat and the gas tank. The top of the engine was now exposed so I could work on it. Ken immediately started washing my saddle bags, side panels, gas tank and seat. Everything was a mess with dirt and sand. While I was working to get to the valves, Ken kept washing. Before nightfall I accessed the valves and checked them. They were in pretty good shape considering I haven’t checked them in over 10,000 miles/16219 Kilometers. Three valve clearances were setting at their high limits and one was in spec. It didn’t need adjustment. Tomorrow I will adjust it to its high limit so all the valves are uniform. It will be 10,000 miles/16219 kilometers or more before I check these valves again. By readjusting this one valve to its high limit all the valves will be uniformly at their high limits, which will be great. It’s too dark to continue working so that’s it for today. We ate supper and went to bed.
I got up late today and just barely made it down to breakfast in time. After I ate I talked to the receptionist about my WiFi connection and that it doesn’t seem to work with my laptop. She gave me a network cable to hook into the wall and then into my laptop. I tried out the connection and was able to connect with the internet. I then e-mailed my sister and told her not to expect me before 5:00 p.m. on Friday. I cleaned out my room, loaded my motorcycle and checked out of the hotel. I then set out for Seattle, Washington. Before I get there I will have to cross the border back into the U.S. Let’s hope I don’t have difficulties there. Once out of the city of Vancouver I stopped for gas and then it's back on the road again. I continued on until the highway signs announced the U.S. border is approaching. I follow the signs to U.S. border and they say it is a minimum of a 90 minutes wait time before you cross the border. Oh joy. Sure enough the traffic is backed up big time. I’m sitting in line for about 15 minutes and all of sudden a motorcycle drives by. I look at him and realize this is not the first time he has ridden to near the front of the line. So if he can get away with it I’m going for it to. So I pull out and down the road I go. I go until somebody opens a hole near the front of the line and I pull in. I’m now within a 400 yards/380 meters. Then its slow as you go until you get across the border. I pull up to the inspection station at the border and customs official tells me to pull up a little farther so he can see my license plate. He then asks for my passport. He asks the nature of my visit to Canada. I tell him I’m just picking up my motorcycle and riding it back to U.S. He asked why and I told him I shipped it to Vancouver, B.C. from South Korea and that I had just ridden it around the world. The customs officer then asks me if I have anything to declare. I tell him yes but it’s not more than $400 dollars. He gives me my passport back and waves me on. After I exit the inspection station I pull into a spot where there is no traffic. I put my passport away, zip up my jacket and get back on I-5 to Seattle. I’m rolling along at a pretty good clip when a rest area shows up. It’s been cold all morning so I decided to pull in and roll down my shirt sleeves to keep the wind from blowing up the sleeves of my jacket. That will keep me warmer until the sun comes out. While I was there some VFW was giving away free coffee, donuts and cookies. I gave them a dollar and took a cookie or two to eat. I stood around a bit to warm up and then took off. I was cruising down the highway and I saw a Kawasaki Dealership. I pulled in and asked if they had front and rear sprockets in stock. The part guy said no. I then inquired about oil filters and he said yes. I bought four of them. I went back out by my motorcycle and several guys were standing around it. They wanted to know more about my travels. I told them I was riding around the world and I just left Russia on the 1 August 2009. Somebody said that explains the Cryllic writing I had on my gas tank. We talked a little more about the countries I passed through and then I gave them my blog address if they wanted more information. I then left and got back on I-5 heading south until I reached Seattle. I then took the 171 exit and took an assortment of streets until I found my sister’s house. I made one last right hand turn and there was the house with my sister standing in the front yard. It’s a small front yard but it’s their front yard. She and Ken were both very happy to see me. They told me to take the alley to get behind the house and they would be waiting for me in the back. I had to drive through two small yard gates to get into their backyard. My saddle bags and mirrors barely made it through the gates. I then had to navigate around their vegetable gardens to get to an area covered by paver stones where I parked my bike. It was good to finally get there. I gave Carol a hug and I met Ken for the first time. Ken was busy grilling supper so Carol and I talked. We ate and then I unloaded my bike. I dug out my air mattress and sleeping bag to sleep on their living room floor. We talked more and we eventually got to bed late. For Carol and Ken, real late. Maybe 10:00 p.m. I now was back in the United States for real and tomorrow I had to start refreshing my motorcycle for the next leg of my journey.
At breakfast, I pigged out because I was starving. I then asked the receptionist to call for a taxi for me. I grabbed all my shipping documents and headed downstairs to wait for the taxi. The taxi was there in five minutes. I gave him the address and off we go to Air Canada Cargo. I walk in the door and everybody knew I was looking for a motorcycle. I ended up at a counter. The woman helped me with everything and then sent me to Canadian Customs in another building that was a fair hike from Air Canada Cargo. I walked over there and in the process my arm length grew from carrying my computer and document bags. I found the building with some difficulty but I found it without having to ask someone. I walked in there, took a number and waited. I probably waited fifteen minutes before I was helped. When my number was called, I walked up and showed my documents and passport. She asked me some questions such as if I bought the motorcycle in Canada. I said no. Are you planning on selling the motorcycle in Canada? I said no. I then told her I had driven my motorcycle around the world and shipped it to Vancouver, B.C. from Korea. I planned to pick it up in Vancouver and ride it back to St. Paul/Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.A. She went and talked to someone about something then came back and stamped my paperwork. She then said go back to Air Canada Cargo and pick up the motorcycle. I walked back again and my arm continued to grow. I waited in line to be waited on again. I probably waited another 15 minutes and then a guy processed my paperwork. He looked at my customs, storage and some kind of x-ray fee and said this is nuts. He walked back into the warehouse to see about a reduction in price and didn’t get an answer. He then headed to some supervisors office and got my storage fee reduced by $150 Canadian Dollars. I still had to pay him nearly $300 Canadian Dollars. Once everything was paid for, the guy said take a left, go into the warehouse and give them the paperwork. I walked outside, took a left and I ended up in the Post Office. The lady in the post office says this happens all the time and to go back into the office. Once you’re in the office take a left and you will end up in the warehouse. She says I don’t know why they don’t tell people that. So I back to the office, take the left and sure enough I’m in the warehouse. There are two people ahead of me and the fork truck is presently loading a truck. I waited almost 30 minutes before it was my turn to have my motorcycle brought up. When the fork truck driver asked me how I was going to haul my motorcycle I said I was planning on riding out of the warehouse if I could. He said he would take it to the back door, drop it outside where I could open the box and assemble the motorcycle. I said that would be great. He told me to leave the wood leaning against the building and it would be recycled later. I said no problem, and did he have a hammer? He did, and gave it to me under the condition that I promise not to take it home with me. I gave him my word on that. Hard as it might be to believe that bloody box was hard to open. I pounded on it a quite awhile until I opened up a crack where I could get the claws of the hammer into it. Then I just kept opening the crack wider and wider until I could get a pry bar into it. I then pried the top loose and lifted the top of the box off. I removed the sides in a similar manner except the bottom didn’t come loose that easy. It took a bit more hammering and prying to undo that nailing. When all four sides were off I removed the shrink wrapping and there was my motorcycle. I picked up the saddle bags and top box and set them on the white foam so as not to scratch them up on the blacktop. One of the top box mounts on one side was damaged during shipping so I had to take a file and file off the burr where some steel part rubbed on the aluminum until it pushed up a burr. I growled about that. With all the saddle bags and top box off the pallet I removed all the hold down straps. I then rolled my motorcycle off the skid. The first thing I did was to see if it would run. When I first tried to start it seemed like it was flooded. I held the throttle open and it started to come to life. But wouldn’t start. I turned the engine over again and this time it started and blew out black smoke until it cleared itself. I kept it at a fast idle until I figured it would idle by itself. I then took it for a ride around the parking lot until it warmed up. After all the cranking on the starter I wanted to charge the battery up some. Then back to the pallet to put on the top box, saddle bags and the mirrors. I had a complete motorcycle again. I repacked all the saddle bags and top box again the way they were before we shipped the motorcycle. I then packed all the remaining odds and ends in my black bags and I was ready to leave. While I was assembling my motorcycle several guys stopped by to talk about my around the world adventure and of course, politics. It was great talking with everybody. Before I left I cleaned up the area and the last thing I did was to move the pallet the motorcycle was shipped on. I then realized the extra $1300 I paid to ship this motorcycle from Korea to the U.S.A. was to pay for the shipping of the wood. Man that box was heavy. I bet that box weigh 150 Pounds or 68 Kilograms. So before you all fly off the handle I also know the price of shipping that box and my motorcycle was based on volume. i.e. L x W x H., not solely on weight. I hope that makes sense to you all. With everything cleaned up I headed back to the hotel. I did one other thing before I left Air Canada Cargo. I stopped in and asked the lady in the post office if she knows who rides the red Kawasaki KLR 650 sitting outside in front of her window. She described the guy and I went into Canada Air Cargo to ask if anyone knew this guy. Not one soul knew who this guy was. I was kind of shocked. Then one guy took off and said he thinks he knows who rides the KLR 650. He disappeared and returned in a few minutes saying the guy is coming down in a few minutes and to hang on. So I waited and the guy eventually showed up. We then went outside and talked about KLR 650’s for about an hour. Anyway, he had to get back to work and I gave him my blog address if he wished to read about my 2009 round the world journey. So I leave and guess what? I get myself lost. It was a bit of a challenge to find the Days Inn with no map and no Matilda. I knew if I found the Holiday Inn I could find the Days Inn. I finally snaked around the area until I found the Holiday Inn and then I just drove over to the Days Inn. I asked the receptionist if she knews where a coin laundry was, and she whipped out a map from her file cabinet which showed the nearest laundry with directions. I went upstairs and collected all my dirty clothes and headed to the laundry. All my clothes went into the washing machine, even the ones I was wearing. I was sitting there in a pair of pants and my jacket. I got some strange looks from people. That was the first time all my clothes were washed at the same time probably in 1½ to 2 months. I put in two boxes of soap to get out any grease that you don’t get out with hand washing and used hot water. When I dried them. I used the max heat so my Levi’s came out dry. When I was finished with them they were the best feeling clothes I had on in months. On the way back to the hotel I drove by a car wash. I stopped in and sprayed down my motorcycle to get rid of any loose dirt and to clean the radiator out. I then drove back to the hotel for the night. Tomorrow I am heading for Seattle, Washington. I tried e-mailing my sister Carol before I went to bed but had no luck with the WiFi in the hotel. I tried it again later in the night down by the receptionist desk and still no luck. So I don’t know what’s going on there. I guess she will just have to be surprised when I show up.
My alarm went off at 6:00 a.m. and I really didn’t feel like getting up. I lingered in bed for probably 45 minutes longer and was about to get in the shower when the telephone rang with my wake up call. I’m never fast out of a shower so when I did get out I had less than 15 minutes to get my bags packed and be downstairs for the airport shuttle. I was just about packed when the airport shuttle driver called saying hurry up we got to get to the airport. I slammed all my stuff into my bags and headed out the door to the elevator. I left the elevator on the first floor and my bag was grabbed by the airport shuttle driver. I jumped in the minivan and off to the airport we went. When I arrived I was almost three hours early. I didn’t mind because I wanted to walk around some and look at the different shops. I wanted to find some souvenirs because all the way through Europe, Ukraine and Russia I didn’t find any to purchase. If I did find souvenirs there was no room to carry them on my motorcycle. Anyway, I checked in first and that all went smoothly. No problems with the passport. I was given my ticket, gate number and off I went looking for souvenirs. En route to Burger King I walked past a currency exchange and decided to change all my Korean Wan to Dollars. I had like $400 of Korean Wan I needed to change. So I pulled out this wad of Korean Wan and asked the lady to change it. She asked if I wanted U.S. Dollars or Canadian Dollars. I said all U.S. Dollars and she said you get more money if you change it all to Canadian Dollars. So I told to her change it all to Canadian Dollars. I was putting my money away when I pulled out more Korean Wan from my pocket and second wallet. The lady sighed and recalculated the currency again. I spotted a Burger King and bought myself some breakfast. I’m getting into the swing of this fast food. I just realized I converted all my Korean Yen into Canadian Dollars. How am I going to pay for this food? Just then I saw a sign on the cash register that said U.S. Dollars were accepted. I was saved by a sign again. My Whopper went down smoothly. I moved on to the first shop and looked around. Nothing here I want. As I was leaving I saw a Harley-Davidson poster. I went over and checked it out closer. Here they were selling H-D clothing and accessories. I bought myself two Korean Official Licensed Harley-Davidson T-shirts. They will be a nice addition to my collection of H-D T-shirts that I have. I went through security with no problems and then continued browsing the duty free shops along the way for more souvenirs without much luck. I was looking for something special for Mary but she has more jewelry than she can wear in a year. I left all the shops empty handed. I was bummed out. I was still too early to go to my gate so I found an area where I could sit and work on my blog until my flight was ready to leave. It’s still hard to believe I left Russia but now I’m leaving South Korea and tomorrow I will be in Vancouver, B.C. Things are moving very fast and it still seems like only yesterday I was in Russia. Here is something else that is kind of funny……………I still want to answer all questions in Russian. Well it’s time for me to head to my gate. I flew business class out of Korea to Tokyo, Japan. There was a long line when I walked up to ticket counter to get on the airplane and I received my share of suspicious looks. i.e. does this guy really think he is going to the head of the line. Normally that wouldn’t be a big deal except I looked a little too dusty to be flying business class. My red jacket and shoes were covered with Russian dust from when I rode my motorcycle from Vladivostok to the Port of Zarubino. That was a very dusty day for the short distance I traveled. The dust covered and got into everything. I also didn’t dust myself off very well. Much to everyone’s surprise the ticket counter people took my ticket and I continued walking onto the plane. The stewardess showed me my seat and I gave her my jacket to stow away. I’m a novice business or first class flyer and was quite surprised to see only about a quarter of these seats were filled. About the only thing I had to do on this flight was to fill out the customs and immigration forms for Japan. The rest was free time and I really didn’t feel like working on my blog. The reality of me going back to the states still seems in the future even though I’m one day away. Next stop Tokyo, Japan.
We landed, pulled up to the gate and disembarked the airplane. Everything I needed to know about getting through the airport was in English so I had no problems navigating the place. Next I headed toward customs and immigration. I stopped and ask what counter or line I should stand in and was misdirected to the wrong area. After about twenty minutes of standing in this mass of humanity I kind of was thinking something is wrong and I’ve got to find out if I’m standing in the right line. They had an information person answering questions a short distance from my line. I showed him my ticket and custom forms and he said you don’t belong here. He pointed in the opposite direction and said go upstairs. Off I went. I climbed the stairs and went through security again. I now was in the secure area where I could read the incoming flights and outgoing flights. My flight wasn’t on the board yet and according to my ticket I had a five hour layover. I bought something to eat from McDonalds. Yes our very own McDonalds and again they accepted dollars. I headed off to a lounge area where you could sit or lie down and ate my Big Mac, French Fries and a Strawberry Shake. After that I continued work on my blog. I met a woman working on her laptop who was from Minneapolis, Minnesota. She had just left Bejing, China and was a staff member at the University of Minnesota. She taught/worked in the area of Chinese studies and spoke Chinese and maybe wrote it. It’s always odd/weird/interesting when you meet people from your town in another part of the world. Here are another couple instances of it. I was in Santiago, Chile in the Holiday Inn going up to my room in the elevator. I asked the woman in the elevator with me where she was from. I was pretty sure she was American. She said she was from a small town in Minnesota and I’d never know where it is. I told her I was from St. Paul, Minnesota. She half heartily believed that. She then told me she was from Stillwater, Minnesota and I asked her a question that only a person in the area would know i.e. like did you ever take the cave tour down on Main Street? She looked at me a little strange like Oh my God, he really is from St Paul, Minnesota. Another was when I was diving on the Great Barrier Reef off Australia. This woman walked up to me and said I hear you’re from St Paul, Minnesota. I said yes and she said I’m from Hastings, Minnesota. I said I’ll be darned. She asked me if I had any messages I’d like relayed to my family. I said no, all my family members are scattered around the U.S. and you’d have to pay for long distant calls in order to contact them etc. etc. It still was a nice gesture on her part and I thanked her. Now back to Tokyo. I continued working on my blog until my battery ran out. I couldn’t find an outlet I could plug in. They were all taken or I could find one open. I’m not sure when I will continue this blog……………….so don’t hold your breath.
I just read the Incoming and Outgoing Flights Board and my flight has been delayed an hour so I continue to wait. I walked down to the gate and people are starting to amass. I find an empty chair and park. The plane finally arrives, everybody disembarks and the plane has to be cleaned. By the time the plane is ready to fly we are actually leaving more like two hours late. The announcement is made that it’s time to board. I started thinking maybe I’d better go to the bathroom and get a drink before this process gets too far along. I take off, do my business and return. The line is real long with passengers getting on the plane. Again I walk to the head of the line with my ticket, with one major difference. Someone escorted me to the ticket counter expecting problems and when I handed them my ticket they tore it off and let me on the plane. The security person disappeared. I seem to be magnet for security people for some reason. I’m beginning to believe I never do anything the right way. I walk through the front door of the airplane and whoa. What am I walking into? These don’t look like the first class seats I know. I find my seat and park. I give my coat to the stewardess to hang up and stow my carry-on luggage. I sit down in my seat and try to figure this whole thing out. It has its own TV screen, 110v power outlet, ear headsets and my God, I can lay down and sleep! This is a totally new experience for me. It took me a while to figure out how the chair reclines into a bed. The flight from Tokyo, Japan was food, filling out custom and immigration forms, two movies, sleep, more food and landing in Vancouver, B.C. We crossed the International Dateline while flying to Vancouver so we lost a day. I left Tokyo on 5 August 2009 and landed in Vancouver, B.C. on 5 August 2009. That’s science for you. We disembarked the plane, walked to the baggage claim area and then on to customs and immigration. It was a bit of wait to get through customs and immigration. When I finally got to the window the customs agent wanted to know why I was coming to Canada. I said I was picking my motorcycle up. He asked if I bought it in Canada. I said no, I shipped it here from South Korea and then proceeded to tell him I had just ridden my motorcycle around the world. He asked which countries I had ridden through and I rattled them off and once I said Russia he stamped my passport and waved me on. He didn’t want to listen to me anymore. He knew I knew what I was talking about and that it was not some kind of a snow job. I was home free and it felt like I just used my Get Out of Jail Free card. No more problems with customs and immigration. I waited for the shuttle to the Days Inn Airport location. I arrived at the Days Inn and inquired about my room I had made a reservation for. They checked their e-mails. Nope, David Reinhold did not make any reservations. They did have a room for me which I paid for. Then a woman stuck her head out of the office and said some shipping company called asking for me. Days Inn told them we have no David Reinhold registered at the hotel. They said they would call back later and check again. I went up to my room and decided to test my cell phone to see if it works. I called the number Wendy Choi told me to call when I arrived in Vancouver to check on the arrival of my motorcycle. They answered and said yes, they have my motorcycle and it’s ready to be picked up. I asked the hours they were open and they said it’s too late to pick it up today. Come tomorrow, we’re open 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. I said ok. I took a shower, checked my e-mails and went to bed.
I got up late and the first thing I did was check my e-mail. Linda sent me back two flights that I could choose from. I e-mailed her back with my preferences. I’m not sure what I did today besides hand wash my clothes in the shower and hang them up to dry. I checked my e-mail again later in the day. Wendy e-mailed me that my motorcycle had successfully shipped out of Incheon Airport and was on its way to Vancouver, B.C. That was great news and I thanked her for it. Linda also sent me the information I needed on my flights out of Incheon Airport. True to form I misread it and had to ask for help getting it straight in my head. After Linda helped me I was good to go. I went downstairs and asked for a 7:00 a.m. wake up call and put my name down for catching the airport shuttle at 8:00 a.m. Everything was set for me to be leaving South Korea at 11:00 a.m. in the morning. I went out for pizza again tonight and then to the neighborhood grocery store. I picked up some apples, bananas and Snicker bars. I wanted to buy some oranges but couldn’t. If I wanted an orange I would have to buy the whole crate or box. I then walked around the town to see what was in the neighborhood. The area seemed to specialize in seafood restaurants. I didn’t see many other types of restaurants. The area was full of hotels which was probably why there were so many restaurants. I looked for some souvenir shops to buy some gifts. I didn’t find any but I may not have looked in the right spot. After the walkabout I went back to the hotel, ate my fruit, watched some television and then went to bed.
Sometime around 1:00 a.m. we stopped in a rest area and took break. We stayed there eating and drinking refreshments until they shut off the lights and locked the place up. We continued on until 4:00 a.m. when the driver needed to stop and sleep. He pulled into a rest area on the side of the road and slept until 6:00 a.m. I got out of the truck and walked around for about an hour and then sat in the truck until he was ready to go. When the driver woke up we were off to the crating company which would crate my motorcycle. When we stopped we were probably more than 20 miles/32 kilometers from the shop. He turned on his GPS and followed it to the general location. We ran into the same problem I had with the Molly Hotel. We were within 100 yards/100 meters of the place and couldn’t find it. We waited for two hours until the owner came by and saw us. He told us the location of his business and we pulled in. We asked people in the area and they didn’t even know where the business was. This sounded real familiar. Eventually the employees showed up and the task of unloading and crating began. The young lad driving the fork truck struggled with getting the pallet lined up so we could get the motorcycle off the truck. Once we got it on the ground the fun started. They wanted me to disassemble my motorcycle. Take the front wheel off, mirrors, top box and saddle bags to make the motorcycle as small as possible to reduce the shipping cost. I did everything but take the front wheel off. That would have made no difference. Then Wendy was in the middle of all this haggling. She wanted the crating box as small as possible to save on shipping costs. I couldn’t have agreed more with her but we could have left the motorcycle in one piece except for the top box and the mirrors. One funny thing about this whole process was taking off the box. It’s held on by probably 10 M6x1 bolts. Each bolt has five washers and a nut. The two front bolts are special. The bolt is a socket head cap screw which is longer with different washers and a nylock nut. So everybody was being very helpful again trying to speed up this operation. I loosened everything up and two other people helped unscrew the bolts and threw everything into a pile. Well that mixed everything up. When I built the mounting brackets for the top box there was rhyme and reason for my madness and I didn’t want it screwed up. Well, we removed the box and then put all the bolts back in their perspective holes and screwed the nuts on. The crating guys randomly started putting the bolts and washers in the holes. Some bolts had one washer on others had six washers and the wrong nut on. So I straightened out the whole bolt, washer, and nut situation. This ticked off the crating guys because I redid all their work. I told them Toyota didn’t become a #1 car manufacturer by doing poor quality work. That ended all the conversation on that subject. They stood back and let me finish. I ended up one washer short and it was nowhere to be found. I also took off the saddle bags and took out what I want to go with me to the hotel. I put my helmet in the top box and my riding pants in one of my black bags to travel with the motorcycle. The crating guys got everything arranged the way they wanted to crate it, took pictures, took measurements and started building the crate. They also informed Wendy of the crate size for the Airway Bill. They built the base or bottom of the crate first, the four sides and then the top. Once the bottom was completed I rolled my motorcycle on the base and we strapped it down with my tie downs. They then packed everything around and under the motorcycle. I made sure everything had foam in between and under stacked components so it wouldn’t rub against other metal parts and ruin the paint or damage mating parts. The motorcycle was then shrink wrapped in blue plastic. The sides and then the top were put on. It was a work of art. The fork truck picked it up, took it over to the scale and weigh it. It weighed 964 Pounds/438 Kilograms. The motorcycle crate was then loaded back onto the truck and we departed to pick up the Airway Bill, which has the shipping number on it. We got that from Aero International Company which handled the shipping of the motorcycle. The AWB number was 014 6010 0316. I also got a copy of the AWB number and any future reference to the shipping of this motorcycle required this number AWB# 014 6010 0316. After we picked up the AWB we departed for the Incheon Airport. It took some hunting but we finally found Air Canada. Guess what? When we arrived it was lunch time and we had to wait until lunch hour was over. We probably waited 30 minutes until everyone returned from lunch. It was not a big deal. Then of course you must wait in line until it’s your turn to be helped. The guy driving the fork truck was just a maniac. He was very efficient at what he did and he could load and unload trucks fast. I stayed out of his way for fear of getting run over. We offloaded my motorcycle and set it on the dock. That was the last I saw of it while I was in Korea. The truck driver took me to my hotel and I tipped him for putting up with me. He was a nice guy and I liked him. I stayed two nights in Hotel Sky in Incheon, South Korea. As soon as I checked into the hotel I contacted Wendy about the shipping status of my motorcycle and how she wanted to be paid. I also contacted Linda about setting up a flight for me to Vancouver. Now it’s just waiting for my motorcycle to ship to Vancouver, B.C. Canada and Linda to find me a flight to Vancouver. The motorcycle must set for 24 hours before it can ship because it’s dangerous cargo. I think its international law or a shipping law. So it won’t ship until sometime 4 August in the afternoon. I’m planning on flying out on the 5th of August the day after the motorcycle leaves in case a complication arises and I am needed to help sort out the problems. I’m hoping that doesn’t happen. So it’s shower and food time. I saw a Domino’s pizza while were looking for Hotel Sky. It took me probably 30 minutes walking to find the Domino’s pizza place. I ordered a medium extravaganza and a drink. There is an outside mall in between the buildings so I found a spot and ate my pizza. It was the first pizza I ate in months. I went back to the hotel and checked my e-mail. Wendy wrote back and told me she could meet me at the hotel at 7:00 p.m. I could then pay her for the shipping of the motorcycle. I wrote back and told her that works for me. She arrived sometime around 7:00 p.m. I paid her the money for shipping the motorcycle, showed her how we crated it and some of the bad roads I rode on while in Russia. I thanked her for her help and she left. I watched some television because some channels were in English and then went to bed.
I didn’t wake up until my roommates started to move around. They came and went and I just stayed in bed sleeping. Eventually I got up and we talked some. They asked if I wanted to eat breakfast with them. I said yes and we left for the cafeteria. We ordered noodle soup similar to the Ramen noodle soup sold in the U.S., except our soup was made in South Korea or Japan. We talked a lot about Russia and the U.S. After breakfast we separated and I went back to our room and filled out customs and immigration forms. I was quite appreciative that the forms were in four languages: Russian, Japanese, South Korean and English. It took me about 45 minutes and some hunting to find all the information required. My roommates came back and I helped them with one or two questions they had about their forms. We talked more and I apologized for not remembering their names. Both the husband and wife spoke quite good English. They were going to South Korea on a vacation or holiday. He was a bridge and road engineer. They left the room again and I went back to sleep again. I didn’t wake up until there was an announcement over the ferry public address system. Actually I thought it was 12:00 noon and we were pulling into the Port of Sokcho, in South Korea. In reality we were about two hours out yet. I went out on deck and saw my roommates and asked if I could take their picture. They said yes. I had a problem because I was facing into the sun and their faces were black. I finally had them stand facing into the sun and took a picture. The pictures then came out great. I also took pictures of the two Swiss guys I met the night before. I then went and sat in the cafeteria until the ferry was ready to dock. The people were lining up in front of the stairs getting ready to disembark. The ferry company made an announcement informing all passengers to go back to their rooms/berth. Each room was then inspected. It had something to with quarantine and no one could disembark the vessel until it was inspected. By this time the ferry had docked. When the all clear was given it was a mass of humanity rushing toward the stairs to disembark the ferry. It continued that way until everyone was off the ferry. Then it was off to South Korean Customs and Immigration. The lines moved along pretty good. I thought I needed a picture of this as reminder that I was no longer on Russian soil and took one. I immediately was told not to do that again. I was looking around the room and saw two posters showing no picture taking. I was guilty as charged. The Korean gentleman and his teenage son were ahead of me going through customs. They both approached the customs window together. The woman immediately hollered at them that it was only one person at a time and to get back behind the green line. He tried to explain that his son was deaf. She would have no part of that and said get back behind the green line. So he did. She asked the deaf son some questions which he had no clue what she was talking about. She then proceeded to shout louder and the son backed up looking at his dad with a please help me expression, not knowing what she was hollering about. The father again approached the customs agent and again tried explain his son was deaf. He finally had to cover his ears as a sign his son was deaf before she got the message he couldn’t hear. It was my turn with the custom agent and my passport went through without a problem. I was then directed to the metal detector. I started taking off my coat and shoes because of all the metal in them. They said no, no, so I just walked through the metal detecting arch. I rang off and was immediately escorted to some office where everyone spoke English. Again I was a special person. I told them I had a motorcycle on the ferry and showed them the paperwork on it. I was pretty much sitting around doing nothing as the wheels of customs and immigration were at work. I asked the supervisor if he could call a telephone number which would put me in touch with Wendy Choi my shipping agent in Seoul, South Korea. He said, oh, we know Wendy. She even called us today to let us know you were coming. So he dialed her up, gave me the telephone and I told her I arrived at the Port of Sokcho. She said the truck driver will arrive at the Port around 5:30/6:30 p.m. to haul my motorcycle to Seoul. After I hung up the telephone, a guy from customs asked me to drive my motorcycle off the ferry. I followed him out of the office out to the ferry. I walked up the ramp into the ferry, undid the hold down straps, rocked my bike off the center stand, started it and drove it out of the ferry. My customs guy was waiting for me in the parking lot and told me to drive the motorcycle into the building until I cleared customs and paid my shipping bill. We walked back to the office where again I sat waiting for the wheel of customs and immigration to turn. I did not feel put out in any way and felt things were moving pretty fast. I asked one of the girls working in the office if I could check my e-mail while I was waiting. This is always a little awkward because you have to change the keyboard from Korean to English and then if you make a mistake it always goes back to Korean. This was also the case in Russia too. Of course I never can seem to get everything correct the first time. So I had to ask the girl to help me several times which I know kind of aggravated her. Then I was on the computer when she needed it. Eventually they asked me to move to another desk so they could use their own desks. I needed to read all my e-mails, especially the ones from Linda my ticket agent in Minnesota and Wendy my motorcycle shipping agent in Seoul, South Korea. We all three had to coordinate so I could fly and my motorcycle would get shipped out of Korea smoothly. The internet was our communication link with each other. Wendy handled all the motorcycle shipping arrangements from the Port of Sokcho to Seoul, to Vancouver, British Columbia Canada, and Linda handled all my flight arrangements from Seoul, Korea to Vancouver, British Columbia. I was the yes or no man. Yes I can do that, or no, that won’t work for me. By the time I finished all my e-mails they had all the paperwork completed on my motorcycle and the shipping fees calculated. I had to pay a 250 dollar shipping fee for the ferry and some kind of a port fee for the Port of Sokcho. The total bill was almost 300 dollars. The travel time from the Port of Zarubino to the Port of Sokcho was 19 hours. So it was a fair distance we traveled on that ferry. I don’t know the exact miles or kilometers between these two ports. So with financial issues over with I was taken back to my motorcycle and released from the Port of Sokcho. This all took less than 3 hours. The ferry arrived late because we departed late from Port of Zarubino. I was suppose to have a six hour wait for my truck driver at the Port of Sokcho but when I and my motorcycle was released from customs and immigrations it was already past 6:30 p.m. and my truck and truck driver was waiting for me at the building where my motorcycle was being temporally incarcerated. All the help was waiting for me. Somebody opened the door for me; I walked in, started my motorcycle, drove it out to the pallet and then drove up on the pallet. Everybody was so helpful trying not to let my motorcycle tip over that they almost caused me to tip my bike over. I had to holler at them to stop before all their good intentions had me and my motorcycle lying on the ground in a pile. That also happened to me once before when I was oiling my drive chain. My bike likes to fall to the right side when it’s loaded up and the guy offered to hold it while I oiled the chain. That again was a kind gesture but he was pushing so hard on the right side that he almost tipped it over on the left side and that was with the kickstand down. I had to holler at him to stop pushing. Then he felt stupid and walked away. Anyway, we lived through all of that. Once on the pallet, the fork truck lifted the pallet slightly higher than the truck bed and I rolled it onto the truck bed. I offered to let them use my tie down straps to strap the motorcycle down. They declined and tied the motorcycle down with their ropes. They did a nice job of securing the motorcycle. I threw all my stuff in the cab with the driver and headed off to the bathroom. When I came out my motorcycle and all my stuff was driving out the gate. I said crap…………………..there goes all my documents and coat. I was concerned that I might lose some of my important paperwork and God knows what else. I’m supposed to ride with the truck that is hauling my motorcycle to Seoul and it has left and I’m standing here. The other truck driver said not to worry…………it’s not a problem. He said come with him. So I jumped in his truck and he took me to his supervisor’s office. He said I would stay there until 11:00 p.m. when the other truck will return with my motorcycle and pick me up. We then would drive to Seoul. He then heated up a package of Korean noodle soup for me, provided the all the necessary silverware, chopsticks, something to drink and turned on the television. Before he boiled the soup he asked me if I wanted spicy or just plain noodle soup. I picked the spicy soup not knowing it was spicy. He boiled the water over a small butane camping stove and added the noodles. Remember this is a 45 plus year old guy doing the cooking here. This is a no frills meal………… real guy stuff. I ate out of the pot the soup was prepared in and drank out of a cup that was used by God knows how many other people. He didn’t bat an eye about this and neither did I. Something else, all the conversations I was having with these truck drivers from the time we started loading my motorcycle until it was crated up in Seoul were in Korean and English. They didn’t understand or speak English and I didn’t speak or understand Korean. So you know there was a lot of give and take going on trying to get our messages across. The soup was not only spicy but it was very hot. I had to let the noodles cool down or risk blistering the roof of my mouth. I had a glass of water to help with the spicy soup. It cooled down my mouth and tongue. The soup was spicy enough that my forehead was perspiring and my nose was running. The Korean guy realized this and kept my glass of water filled so I could put the fire out in my mouth. We kind of laughed about it. He said I could sleep on the rolled up mat on the floor and use the small pillow. He said the other truck driver would be at the office at 11:00 p.m. and then showed me how to lock the door and how the TV remote worked. He then left. I watched some television, set the alarm on my watch and fell asleep. I probably had slept three hours when my alarm went off. I was laying there thinking I really don’t want to get up. It wasn’t, and I not kidding, two minutes later and the other truck driver was pounding on the office door to let him in. I let him in and then rolled up the sleeping mat. I checked to make sure everything was put back away, the television was turned off, I put on my shoes, locked the door and we left. When I got in the truck I checked that my coat and all my paperwork was still in the cab. It was. As we drove out of town I commented to myself that I haven’t seen a light show like this in months. I was talking about the multi-colored city lights on the store fronts, the car lights and stop lights. Just a lot of different lights. It was also different and orderly. Once we left the city it was just highway and driving through small towns.